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Two Decades After ‘Almost Famous’, Here’s Why It’s So Great

A scene from 'Almost Famous'

Almost Famous is a 2000 coming-of-age film, comedy, and drama directed and written by Cameron Crowe. The film that spares around 122-minute is actually semi-autobiographical because it tells the story of Crowe’s experience while working at Rolling Stone magazine. The film, which is full of rock songs, failed to become a box office, even the budget for this film was more than its income or a loss. Despite the loss, this film received a lot of praise from critics and is considered by some to be one of the best coming-of-age films.

Anita (Zooey Deschanel) is so upset with her conservative mother (Frances McDormand) that she leaves home. Before leaving home, he confirmed his LP collection “most of which were rock albums” going to his younger brother, William (Patrick Fugit). Since then, William has been a huge rock fan.

almost famous

Patrick Fugit and Zooey Deschanel

His sister’s love for rock music encouraged William to write everything related to rock music. One day, William meets Lester Bangs (Philip Seymour Hoffman), a famous music critic. Lester would get William to review the Black Sabbath concert and promise to pay for his writing. William couldn’t get to the Black Sabbath concert because he was not a well-known journalist. He meets a groupie (Kate Hudson), who calls himself Penny Lane, and a band called Stillwater. The band’s guitarist, Russell (Billy Crudup) is attracted to William and invites him to join the concert. The editor of Rolling Stone magazine was interested in William’s writing. The editor asked William to take a Stillwater concert tour and write about them. After long discussions with his mother, William was finally allowed to join the Stillwater concert tour.

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From mommy’s boy to young man

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The cast of ‘Almost Famous’

At the beginning of the film, William is as innocent as an elementary schoolboy who hasn’t been contaminated with pornographic videos. Baek has no intention of taking advantage of others, etc. Unfortunately, William’s innocence and kindness were even manipulated by Russell by delaying his interview with William. As a result, William’s studies were disrupted, his mother became grumpy, and the editors of Rolling Stone demanded his articles. On the other hand, William’s fun time with Russell’s entourage was increasing. It was at this time that William became increasingly exposed to the world of rock stars full of alcohol, drugs, and cute girls. But these things also helped shape William’s outlook on life and personality.

Exciting movie experience

Instead of telling its audience a story, this film brings the character’s experience to the audience. From the moment when William lived his restricted nonevent life served by his mom, to the non-ending trips with the band. Films that contain stories are like the films of Nolan, Quentin Tarantino, and Martin Scorsese. Films that contain experiences other than this film are ‘In The Mood for Love’, ‘3 Days For Good’, and ‘Before Sunrise’. The film serves you an unimaginable experience in cinematic essence.

Some small facts such as that this film does not use a narrator or even breaking the fourth wall like ‘Ferris Bueller’ did, plays an important role in playing out the audience’s emotions. Using the third narrator will alienate the audience, making it look as if this film is a fairytale, which is not. Breaking the fourth wall will actually make the audience aware that we watched the film and did not experience it. The film is the result of consideration and reconstruction of the character who broke the fourth wall.

Not only that, but the film also uses more showing techniques than telling. This technique is quite difficult to do, even the great Nolan often makes mistakes by telling a lot.  How long have Penny and Russell known each other? Where is William’s father? Who cares, they do not matter. If we think about it, maybe it’s a bit wrong for us to bring up the name Nolan because the genre is different, haha.

The music and songs are wonderful and charming

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The famous ‘Tiny Dancer’ scene from ‘Almost Famous’

The soundtracks of the film are also exquisite and legendary. Spanning from Elton John to Led Zeppelin. Those songs are the Rain Song by Led Zeppelin, Mona Lisa and Mad Hatters by Elton John, and America by Simon and Garfunkel. The director does not even shy away from showcasing these classics in his story. These real-life legendary songs made the film look authentic because the characters are enjoying the same song we enjoy.

We are not sure if the movie would be the same if it not with the help of the wonderful music. This proves yet again the importance of music in a film or motion picture. And that scene where the characters are singing on cue ‘Tiny Dancer’ by Elton John will forever be chilling.

Why is it different from other cheesy films?

This film is cheesy, but a very good cheesy. It is the kind of cheesy movie that knows that they are cheesy but still makes the best of it. It is completely a feel-good film although it has its own blue moments. At some scenes, it does feel a little bit dragged and there are some unnecessary scenes as well, but overall, the acting and bond of the cast seem really natural. This helps with the film’s quality. We recommend this movie for anyone who loves music or in the mood to watch some semi-musical movie like this one. It’s very light. We won’t recommend you to dig so much about the film, just watch and enjoy the ride.

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